As the nation and many countries across the globe adjust to the new reality of life amidst the coronavirus outbreak, the music industry has taken a significant hit. With concert venues closed and live performances either rescheduled or canceled, musicians — touring or not — are trying to make the best of the current situation by taking to social media to perform live for fans instead. While hundreds of artists have independently taken to their own social media accounts to connect fans with acoustic performances, many live-streams from big-name artists are part of a new program called “Together At Home” — a partnership between the World Health Organization and Global Citizen. “Together At Home” is a virtual concert series aimed to help promote social distancing and promote global health.
The concert series kicked off on March 16, with Coldplay frontman and Global Citizen Festival Curator Chris Martin. “I was supposed to be with Coldplay today, but we’re stuck in different countries so we can’t play together,” Martin told the live Instagram stream from his home. “So I thought what would be nice would be to check in with some of you out there and see what I could do for you.” Over the next 30 minutes, Martin took questions and requests from followers, playing some of Coldplay’s biggest hits and a cover of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars.” At the end of the broadcast, Martin announced that John Legend would be the next artist to participate. “You can see a real piano player who doesn’t need fireworks to play,” Martin said.
Legend went live for almost an hour the following day, performing a variety of original and cover songs, while teasing new music from his upcoming album. In the days since, the “Together At Home” series has sponsored more than 30 real-time performances featuring artists like Niall Horan, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Miguel and more, with artists continuing to perform every day.
The artists have all urged fans to stay inside to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, echoing that music can help ease people’s loneliness and remind us that we are not alone. “Now it is more important than ever for humanity to come together and realize that we are all one,” Rufus Wainwright said during his “Together At Home” performance.
Normal, everyday life has changed drastically in a short amount of time, to say the least — most schools and businesses have shut down, and we are all encouraged to stay indoors. We’re stuck in limbo — waiting for things to be resolved, hoping for the best, but still uncertain about what lays ahead. Now, music has become more important than ever as we adapt to a new sense of normalcy. Music’s abilities are limitless — it has the power to heal, lift spirits and transcend cultural boundaries.
The “Together At Home” concert series is offering a glimmer of hope and light to the world, creating a platform promoting unity and connectedness regardless of location. We may be physically apart, but we are all together, at home.
Editor’s note: Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, tiredness and shortness of breath. These symptoms are believed to occur between two and 14 days after a person is exposed to the disease. If you have these symptoms and have recently come into contact with a person who is known to have COVID-19, or if you have recently traveled to an area with community spread of the disease, you should call your doctor. Areas with community spread of COVID-19 are believed to include China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Seattle. If you do not have a doctor who you visit regularly, please call the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 or the University of Utah Health hotline at 801-587-0712. Do not go to a healthcare facility without first making arrangements to do so.